Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1) Gardens of the Moon discussion


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Honestly, this book is a mess. SPOILERS

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message 1: by Matt (last edited Sep 11, 2012 12:26AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Okay, let me see if I got the end straight: So Lorn goes through all this effort to raise this evil magic being to destroy Darujhistan, and while it walks to the city it gets attacked by some dragons and a wizard so instead it possesses someone in the city who just happens to be one of the guests at the party and the uncle of one of the main characters (with no explanation of why it possesses this person specifically) and then it gets blown up by one of the Bridgburner's bombs. Only its spirit survives to get destroyed by some other spirit-being (that can turn into a house) and is introduced for the first time AT THAT VERY SAME MOMENT! Then, right after the big evil spirit the book has been building up to over the past couple hundred pages is destroyed, Lorn just happens to have another big evil spirit that's just as powerful in a little bottle she's carrying around so she lets that one out instead so it can have a big fight with Rake. Is my comprehension of this clear? My understanding is that this is the worst book of the series, so do the other ones make any more sense or should I give up on the series?


Shawn Fairweather I have heard the same thing in regards to the notion that Gardens is the most difficult of the series and that it does get better. I still havent made up my mind on whether or not I will proceed. I have also heard that Erickson is all writing or is planning to write a prequel trilogy or a prequel as well. If this is the case I will wait for that to come out so hopefully it will clear up all the issues I had trying to read Gardens.


Jesper The problem is that a lot of the questions you have are either answered indirectly in the text (why Cutter's uncle get possessed for example) or answered later in the series. However, the Malazan series, at least the main strain by Steven Erikson, is very big on not spelling things out so it is often up to the reader to figure things out.

Looking at the entire Malazan series (books by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont) it is definitely an epic in the true sense of the word, there are so many storylines, settings and characters that it is impossible to keep track of them all in one reading, combined with a preference to never spell out what's going on to the reader and it can definitely be a challenging read.

In each book there is one (or a few) big storylines that run their course throughout the book, while many of the smaller more personal storylines will not get resolved until later in the series... Or not at all in some cases, at least not openly to the reader.

Deadhouse Gates is a lot easier to read than Gardens of the Moon, but do note that it introduces a completely new cast of characters and you won't revisit the characters of GotM until the third book, Memories of Ice. If that sounds daunting I would recommend taking a look at Ian C. Esslemont and his Malazan novels, Night of Knives being the first, and probably the book in the Malazan world closest to more traditional fantasy. It follows the events of a single night in the former capital of the Malazan Empire on Malaz Island and has a smaller cast of PoVs than most of the other stories, which makes it a significantly easier read.

Personally I have really enjoyed all the books in the Malazan series and I love how the main serie was written since it gives me plenty of reason to re-read, which is a very different experience since you can look at events and characters with a more complete image what is going on.

@Shawn – Erikson has stated that he will be writing two trilogies, one a prequel (the Kharkanas Trilogy) which begins with the recently released book Forge of Darkness and one sequel which is rumoured to follow the character Karsa Orlong from the main serie. Do note that the prequel is set thousands of years before the events of Gardens of the Moon and really should be read after, in my opinion, the main series.

Hope that helps.

Deadhouse Gates
Night of Knives
The Forge of Darkness


Paweł I have the same impression as the OP... after reading Gardens of the Moon, I have bought the Deadhouse Gates e-book, started reading but immediately there was new set of races, magicks and other stuff. There's just too much different stuff for me.

I think the true skill of a writer shows when they can write a story in 1 to 3 books and make it extremely interesting and immersive. If it goes on for 10 books then I guess it's not for me...

Why do I want to spend countless hours going through Erikson's stuff when I can read Joe Abercrombie's books in less than half the time and enjoy better characters, better world building and complex and multilayered storylines?

I know that reading is not an olympic sport and more does not mean better but come on, there has to be a limit somewhere... if you tell me that I have to read 10 books to get all storylines resolved then that's just not for me.


message 5: by Shawn (last edited Sep 11, 2012 10:18AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Shawn Fairweather The way I look at it is, I love an epic. Im not afraid of a 10 book series...but writing 10 books will typically make it epic alone. If you make one entry especially the first one like Gardens "epic" in nature to the point that half of your readers are frustrated reading it and often feel overwhelmed, then they are less likely to continue on to the second entry. You can spread things out evenly and coherently more over 10 novels instead of craming and overabundance in one. If I am gonna invest time trying to immerse myself in a 10 volume epic...which I really want to do, I dont want to necessarily feel I have to work at it to do so. I like a challenging read but Erikson's style seems like he sets out to mess with some of his readers heads to prove they are worthy enough to read on. I can appreciate the concept, but I dont have to play ball either and to me that is a risk the author takes.


Paweł @Shawn, exactly how I feel. In addition, I don't see how writing 10 books is some superhuman feat and automatically makes the series "epic" (in various sense of this word...).

Again, I recommend Joe Abercrombie's books to everyone. He is a true architect. The books seem to not be connected but when you read them in the correct order you will get a story and a world of truly epic proportions.

I have yet to see/read this kind of world building. I hoped Erikson's books would provide something on par with Joe but I guess I need to look elsewhere.


Matt Just to be clear, this book was definitely not a total loss. I actually found it refreshing how it didn't spoonfeed the reader and enjoyed trying to make sense of it. I also found the world itself to be very mysterious and fascinating. In terms of world-building it may be unmatched by any other fantasy I've read (besides Tolkien of course). I even started to warm up to the characters by the end (it did take awhile though) I had hopes that the multiple plot threads would come together at the end in a satisfying way, but apparently not. I will read the 2nd book and if I'm still not sold that will be the end of the series for me.

Also, yes Joe Abercrombie rocks! I've been reading several fantasy novels simultaneously to see which ones I like best(and also to see if any of them can match Song of Ice and Fire). I'm liking Abercrombie best because of the character development, action, and humor. I do find the world he creates a bit bland, but maybe that aspect gets more interesting in later books. I'm also really liking Mistborn. It's got the old-fashioned good vs. evil thing going on, but done very well. So far nothing matches GRRM. I know it's popular to bash whoever is popular at the moment but I'm just calling it as I see it.

Thanks for the responses, I'm glad I'm not alone in my assessment of Gardens of the Moon.


Zoran Krušvar Some people praised these books, so I bought first three in the series.

I finished first two. If someone asked me what was it all about, I couldn't retell.

But a month ago, I met Steven Erikson on a convention, and he seemed to be such a nice guy that I bought three more books and decided to read them :-)))
Now, am I sucker or what? :-)))


Shelley Hello All! I just happened along this discussion when I checked my homepage, normally I go straight to the BridgeBurners discussion boards!

@ Matt and Pawel I'm really sorry this is the way you felt after reading Gardens, you really can't appreciate it the first time you read it for the master piece that it is. Only after finishing the most amazing series ender, The Crippled God, and you go back for a reread of Gardens do you see everything was right there, you just didn't know it.

For myself, the Malazan series come to me so highly recommended that I gave it a go. Needless to say I was on the phone real quick asking "What the Hell" was this thing because I was so confused and I felt like I was dropped in the middle of a story! I was told to KEEP READING, which I thankfully did, that was five years ago now! And since then I've read the entire series three times and have waited with baited breathe for every damn release from both SE and ICE! And guys I've read all of Abercrombie (reading ‘Red Country’ atm) and GRRM's books and the only one that comes close to SE is GRRM in character development and scale, but GRRM has nothing on Erikson since SE has released a book almost every year since Gardens and we're lucky to get a book from GRRM every FIVE years!

Now I do not think that SE went out of his way to make the reading difficult, it's more like Jasper said, SE has the time to resolve events that happen in Gardens with all the other books to come! There are two groups on Goodreads, Fantasy Book Club Series < http://www.goodreads.com/topic/group_... > and The BridgeBurners < http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1... > In the Fantasy Book Club I helped moderate a series reading of both SE and ICE, all fourteen books (at that time) , so the folders are there if you have questions. Also on the BridgeBurners Goodreads page we are going to do an entire SE series reading and discussion starting in January 2013, you’re more than welcome to join us!

If you don’t join in on that, I do ask/BEG that you guys KEEP READING (I mean Zoran you did buy the first six books right?), this series really does get better with each book! And yes you were dropped into the middle of a story, yet Gardens really is the beginning of the tale of "the Malazan, book of the fallen” (This is the secret).

Shelley:)


message 10: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee the only one that comes close to SE is GRRM in character development and scale,

Now you know that I am a HUGE Erikson fan. But you know what, I am not agreeing with you here on this one Shells. I think Erikson has an imagination that is unequalled. His ability to turn that into a story that spans what it did was truly amazing a utterly rewarding to read.
However, I am going to say, that I think that Abercrombie is ahead on character building skills. SE has hundreds of characters to work with, but not many had the kind of development that the First Law characters did.

you really can't appreciate it the first time you read it for the master piece that it is. Only after finishing the most amazing series ender, The Crippled God, and you go back for a reread of Gardens do you see everything was right there, you just didn't know it.

and that statement there is what some readers will say is a fundamental problem with SE's writing. Not everyone wants to work hard with their reading. This is why it will never be a Wheel of Time epic. Because you have to invest more than just time to read the series.


Zoran Krušvar Shelley wrote: "I mean Zoran you did buy the first six books right?"

Yup. I've checked it with Erikson himself to make sure it's right :-)))


Shelley Zoran wrote: "Shelley wrote: "I mean Zoran you did buy the first six books right?"

Yup. I've checked it with Erikson himself to make sure it's right :-)))"


Zoran, where did you happen to meet Steven Erikson?


Shelley Lee wrote: "the only one that comes close to SE is GRRM in character development and scale,

Now you know that I am a HUGE Erikson fan. But you know what, I am not agreeing with you here on this one Shells. I ..."


All I'm saying Lee is I think that every time you reread a book you find there was much that you missed or didn't understand when you read it the first time thru, and this is defiantly the case for myself when I reread Gardens.

As far as character development I think of Sorry/Aspalar, Paran, Karsa, Shadowthrone, Whisky Jack/Isak Jarak, Trull, Toc the Younger, Quick Ben, Tavore, Fiddler and even the Crippled God and think of the changes they went thru. Now he doesn't develop all characters, but the main characters go thru massive changes; for example Karsa goes from a murdering lunatic to one of my favorite characters because of his enslavement.

Don't get me wrong, I love Joe's work, it's dark how I like it and realistic and damn funny, but I don't feel it's as epic or imaginative as either GRRM or SE.


Zoran Krušvar Shelley wrote: "Zoran wrote: "Shelley wrote: "I mean Zoran you did buy the first six books right?"

Yup. I've checked it with Erikson himself to make sure it's right :-)))"

Zoran, where did you happen to meet Ste..."


He was a guest of honor on SF&Fantasy convention "Liburnicon" in Opatija, Croatia couple of months ago. He was talking about his books, but also about his experiences as an archeologist.

His books are not translated to Croatian yet, so he doesn't have many fans here, and therefore he wasn't very crowded and I was able to talk to him a lot :-)


message 15: by Shelley (last edited Nov 14, 2012 12:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shelley Zoran wrote: "Shelley wrote: "Zoran wrote: "Shelley wrote: "I mean Zoran you did buy the first six books right?"

Yup. I've checked it with Erikson himself to make sure it's right :-)))"

Zoran, where did you ha..."


OMG….WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You lucky @#&%$! Pulling my hair out here, I can't believe you got to meet and talk to Erikson and you haven't even read the series yet!!! :O Man-O-Man, lucky you Zoran!!!

I think the fact that he and ICE are Archeologists is what makes their stories so special!!

Well I'm going home to cry now!!! :)


Razmatus writing what I call "brief outline article", aka article shortly addressing some interesting aspects of both Martin and Erikson especially, with mention of Esslemont from time to time... will post a link here when it is done :)))


Razmatus http://www.facebook.com/notes/mirosla...

here, I hope you enjoy my insights :)))


Zoran Krušvar Shelley wrote: "OMG….WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You lucky @#&%$! "

I'm the guy pointing at the camera, and SE is the guy next to me: http://www.novilist.hr/var/novilist/s...


message 19: by David Sven (last edited Nov 14, 2012 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven I'm a fan of Erikson having read all the Malazan books - but gee it was hard slog. I still think Erikson asks too much of his readers. It does pay off in the finish but he asks for a lot of trust.

The thing with Malazan, is that Erikson starts with a fully fledged and developed Universe before he wrote his first book. The world was part of a gaming platform he developed ages ago. As such, the whole series is like a jigsaw puzzle where Erikson is the only one who knows what the picture on the cover looks like. Book one he throws a few pieces on the board for you to play with. Some of them fit together within the context of the book, but there are others that won't make any sense till he throws you a few more pieces in later books. But mostly ALL the pieces FIT somewhere.
Its going to a lot more fun I suspect, having seen the final picture to go back and start again where I won't be stumbling and groping in the dark for a lot of the series.


David Sven Razmatus wrote: "http://www.facebook.com/notes/mirosla...

here, I hope you enjoy my insights :)))"


Nice post Raz! I thought you were going to write your own book there for a minute.


Razmatus David Sven wrote: "Razmatus wrote: "http://www.facebook.com/notes/mirosla...

here, I hope you enjoy my insights :)))"

..."


remember, it was still only outline thing - mentioning interesting points and ideas and trying to elaborate on them just a little... because each of those points could be worthy its own extensive paper, or most of those... and I still forgot the attitude towards war and environmental commentary :)))

glad you like it though

oh yea, the other reason I wrote it is to encourage others a bit, possibly slovaks or czechs especially, cos in here, in slovakia, it would surely use more promotion than now :)))


Shelley Razmatus wrote: "http://www.facebook.com/notes/mirosla...

here, I hope you enjoy my insights :)))"


Hey Raz, I don't have a facebook account! *I can hear the collective gasp* I know half the planet has a facebook account but I refuse to create one for too many reasons to count. And from a security stand point Facebook opens people up for hacking and much more for my liking.

Is there anyway you could email me the article because I'd love to read it!!?? :) I can send my email address thru the email system here if that works!!??


Shelley Zoran wrote: "Shelley wrote: "OMG….WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You lucky @#&%$! "

I'm the guy pointing at the camera, and SE is the guy next to me: http://www.novilist.hr/var/novilist/s......"


WOW! Just WOW!!! Zoran, I don't even know what to say!!! Except....I think I want to throw myself off the closest bridge!!!

To have had the chance to meet Steven Erikson would have been a dream come true for me!!! And throw in beers in the mix and I might have to say that would have been the greatest day EVER!!!! Needless to say I would have talked that man's ear off!!! :))

Maybe someday!!!

Now you know you HAVE to read the series right!!! You better than everybody knows he's a good dude and will be able to see SE in his writing!


Zoran Krušvar Shelley wrote: "WOW! Just WOW!!! Zoran, I don't even know what to say!!! Except....I think I want to throw myself off the closest bridge!!!
"


Yup, Erikson is quite a cool guy to hang with. But George R. R. Martin was even cooler when he first came to Croatia in 2003., because he gave me a Greyjoy T-shirt :-)


Jenna I have read the entire series. It is not an easy read to start off with, but I absolutely loved it. Very often when I am in a book slump (can't find anything to read) I will return to this series and re read my favourites: Book 2 - Deadhouse Gates; Book 3 -Memories of Ice; Book 6 - The Bonehunters. For those of you finding the first book in the sereis difficult to get through, stick with it.


message 26: by Nova (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nova Terata There might be less time for character development since more stuff happens in one chapter of Malazan than a single Wheel of Time book, seriously don't come into this series expecting anything like other series, this is more like the Iliad or Bhagavad Gita meets the entire Marvel Universe timeline meets The Hurt Locker. The hardest thing for me at first was the soldier humor, but that's also what makes this series so special. Also, at least half the characters are women, and in the Malazan Empire they are seriously empowered.


message 27: by John (new) - rated it 4 stars

John I can feel what all the people new to his series feel, his books are a hard slog but all of a sudden something clicks and it's 3:00am.. then 5 etc. Trying to describe him to my friends is difficult. Just remember, all the pieces eventually fit. I love this as SE has not treated us with distain, we are left to fathom things out for ourselves, not spoon feed as the norm. I don’t know another author with his style and it can only be described as Epic. He recommended Glenn Cook as a mentor so I arrowed in on Cook asap .. wow, read the Black Company!


message 28: by Minh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Minh Nguyen The demon that Lorn unleashed is no where near powerful as the Tyrant though. At least that's what I think, otherwise she wouldn't have to go through all the trouble to release the Tyrant.


Goran 2 books in the series, and it just doesn't work for me, think I will stop for now. Most characters seem flat and dialogue is plain awful at times. The writer seems to just randomly throw in one godly character after another with nothing but name and their super cool overblown powers to distinguish them by. While the story was hard to follow, I managed it somehow, but I just didn't care for a single character in the series so far.
I'll stick with the likes of J. Abercrombie and S. Bakker.


Justin Carroll I buy the first two books for a lot of people. I tell them to push through the first one because then it really does get better... The Chain of Dogs is just brilliant. And you really grow to love a lot of the characters.

No, it isn't perfect, and Erikson doesn't make it -easy- as such with Gardens of the Moon. However, he was also adamant that he wouldn't dumb down at all, regardless. Instead, he wrote thousands of years of history and then sort of just... drops you in it. Hit the ground running or get left behind.

If you like truly epic fantasy, the series is brilliant. That said, The Crippled God was bad and did not wrap things up satisfactorily for me, personally.

But, the series is very good: Truly epic in scope with some brilliant characters and developments.


Razmatus I loved CG :)))


David Sven We've just started a reread of the whole series here http://www.goodreads.com/group/invite....

We are pacing it at 4 chapters a week so it doesn't interfere too much with anything else. Its structured chapter by chapter so new readers can join in without fear of spoilers.

I'm finding that I'm picking up a lot of the detail I missed the first time around - and a lot of the answers are hidden there in plain sight. Its definitely a different and more rewarding experience so far


Chris Tomey I am currently reading book 5. I must say that I get annoyed by the amount of detail that goes into some of the back stories, however, the world is amazing and the characters are easy to connect to. I am itching to get back to the "Malazan Group". Sadly however and I assume for a reason, all of the characters you finally get a feel for by book 3, are no longer part of the stories.

Here is my point blank spoiler free review so far.
Book 1 - WTF was that? I better keep reading!
Book 2 - OK, Still lots going on but I got it by the horns now.
Book 3 - Epic, awesome, sweet.
Book 4 - I don't really care about these people. Where is this going and why?
Book 5 - Same as 4 so far but a more interesting story line and some fun humor.

You will have to accept that there will be entire books of new character and stories. If that doesn't interest you then you can stop at book 3. I would at least read to book 3 though. it ties up most of the story line...sort of.

However, all of these books look to be building towards some epic ending and a lot of the characters may be "newish" in every book but they are still interesting reads.

I can’t wait to see them all tie together.


Shelley Chris wrote: "I am currently reading book 5. I must say that I get annoyed by the amount of detail that goes into some of the back stories, however, the world is amazing and the characters are easy to connect t..."

Hey Chris!! They will all tie in together, I remeber having the same feelings when reading House of Chains, who is this Karsa character and why is SE bring him into the mix, I want my Malazans! But when I ever got to the point when Karsa meets up with Leoman I was slammed because we knew who Kasra was the whole time, yet we didn't! I thought it was a master stoke in the series! As for Midnight Tides, TRUST me it's one of the best books in the series! Think of these books as leep frogging back and forth, and YES it's all going somewhere! Actually the ending of the series has a lot to do with Bugg, Tehol and Brys and Luthar so make sure to pay attention!

Shells:)


Bryan This was an alternatingly easy and difficult read for me personally. Taken as a whole, the series was great, and I would definitely recommend it to any fan of epic fantasy. On the flip side of the coin, there were some extremely annoying parts to this series which frustrated the hell out of me.

The structure of the prose was cetainly one of the most difficult parts of series to cope with. Now, I have a pretty good memory for this kind of stuff, but Erikson doesn't make it easy to keep things straight...in fact, I couldn't shake the feeling that he was writing the books in an intentionally confusing manner just to keep his readers on their toes, which irritated me.

His poetry...oh, his poetry. This man is a brilliant worldbuilder, but not much of a poet. Toward the end of the series, we were getting more and more poems, too, and maybe one in ten of them were good.

His characters were also fairly weak. Not to say that I didn't have my favorites, but honestly, in a cast of hundreds (and hundreds) he really only had a handfull of fully fleshed-out, well-realized characters. The rest were merely thin archetypes.

All whingeing aside, though, Erikson's worldbuilding is superb, and he is a master of the Climax. True, The Crippled God didn't tie up all the loose ends...but I kind of like that in an epic. Lets you know there's more going on out there, unresolved, just like the real world(if the real world had giant Otataral dragons and whatnot).


message 36: by David Sven (last edited Jan 26, 2013 02:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven There's really only one way to read this series. And that's to read it again. It's very difficult to appreciate the level of detail and foreshadowing the first time around because there is so much packed into each page. There are very few authors if any where there are so few wasted words. There is very little detail that just exists to pad the background. While the first time round I struggled at times with the learning curve, this second time round things are so much clearer


Razmatus I disagree with some chars being archetypes - this seried reminds me of a complx chronicle and as such can only focus much on some of the chars while some play supporting cast... but they arent archetypes - they just arent explored so much in depth as they arent that important for the story


Callum Jenna wrote: "I have read the entire series. It is not an easy read to start off with, but I absolutely loved it. Very often when I am in a book slump (can't find anything to read) I will return to this series..."

Could not agree more! Book 2 & 3 are easily some of the best Fantasy I have ever read. Simply amazing. I really enjoyed Book 4. Book 5 was good but not great. Up to Book 6 (Bonehunters) now - this comment has made we want to put down Joe Abercrombie and get stuck back into Erikson!


message 39: by T.M. (new) - rated it 1 star

T.M. (Trent Michael) Shannon heres the thing, do epics really need to be SO epic?

seriously I got through 80 pages of this it was convoluted beyond belief and the names are dreadful - even by MMORPG standard.

Level of detail? I was perplexed about what Moon's Spawn was supposed to look like (let alone what it was, why it existed, how it managed to move), and don't get me started on a jump from after battle to before battle to during battle (three paragraphs of my life back please) and nobody wanted to do anything about the mage who just deflected incoming spells onto his allies (i skipped to pages at random and he was still there).

i enjoyed LOTR the second time around, skipping the songs. I'm not going to bother trying to finish this - this cost me $20 in a book store too!


message 40: by David Sven (last edited Mar 17, 2013 08:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven @T.M. I think if you read it till half way through you may have changed your mind - It does eventually settle down to advance the plot to what I think is a very satisfactory conclusion. But I realise that's a lot of trust to ask someone to give the author.

Also your comment on detail and Moonspawn - Moonspawn is actually only one detail - a snapshot - in a much larger epic painting that was the battle of Pale. Erikson is very sparse with words when describing how things "look" - like character appearances. What you do get detail on is the histories and cultures of whole races. You get detailed genealogies. But you have to discover these for yourself as you read the series. You get pieces in this book. Even Moonspawn gets a history of sorts - but not in this scene or even this book. At Pale you get an image of Moonspawn as it appears from the characters on the ground POV.

the enormous mountain hanging suspended a quarter-mile above the city of Pale. She scanned the battered face of Moon's Spawn – its name for as long as she could remember. Ragged as a blackened tooth, the basalt fortress was home to the most powerful enemy the Malazan Empire had ever faced.

Now the description is sparse yes, but it gives you all you need to see in your mind's eye in the context of the bigger picture. Now Erikson could spend more words explaining exactly what a "blackened tooth" looks like - but would he really be adding more detail than your imagination can already conjure? I don't think so. It only takes a sentence or two to explain how to suck an egg - do you really have more information than required if a whole page was taken to elaborate?

Also, throughout the rest of the book, you get the whole battle, and what exactly happened from differing and often contradictory POVs. It's up to the reader then to decide and decipher what the truth actually is. What was the deal with Tayschrenn? I think it's a little unfair to skip a few pages to decide nobody took the mages actions seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth - but you also have to realise that you are dealing with unreliable POV narrator's as well - not is all as it first appears.

I think, if you gave this a chance, every possible question you could think of to raise, Erikson has pretty much thought of and eventually answers. Not all in this book, but still a lot. That's one of the things I like about Erikson's writing. He goes to great lengths to justify every single action his characters make - but you aren't going to get it unless you finish the book. Or then again you may decide to continue and still hate it :) - to each his own.


message 41: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt This is the OP back again. I'm about 130 pages into Deadhouse Gates and I'm really starting to lose patience with it. The rules of the world are hard to follow (the glossaries are not in categorical order which is a pain because you don't even know what category the thing is even in). It jumps from place to place without really giving much sense to where the characters are (Many of the locations aren't on the maps or are really difficult to find on them). Most of all, the characters are difficult to relate to. I'll keep going for awhile and maybe it will click but I was hoping that for Gardens of the Moon and it never really happened. I've also been reading Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson lately and enjoying them a lot more.


David Sven Deadhouse Gates is a lot denser that GoTM. As a rereader it's a delight because I see all the details I missed first time round with the added benefit of knowing what questions to ask. But for a first time reader I found it very hard.
You could join The Malazan Fallen group http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/8.... We are just finishing up DeadHouse Gates this week but there are non spoilery chapter by chapter discussions and the group is very active with a lot of rereaders so you could join where you are or even go back to chapters in the last book and you are sure to get people happy to answer or discuss points.


message 43: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Yeah, the whole point I'm making is that it doesn't seem worth the effort. If it takes multiple readings and online chapter discussions just to understand what the heck is going on then that's a failure of the author. My "too-read" pile has literally over 100 books in it so I can be spending my time reading something I'm enjoying more. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to give up on the book. I like how vivid the world is and it's pretty much the only fantasy series I've read that combines grittiness with strong fantastical elements.


Razmatus Matt wrote: "Yeah, the whole point I'm making is that it doesn't seem worth the effort. If it takes multiple readings and online chapter discussions just to understand what the heck is going on then that's a f..."

it's not his failure you dont understand... he doesnt force you to read half a library to understand one freakin thing like Joyce... and it is not your failure either, you just find it confusing I guess?

I havent done multiple readings, nor read in-depth, chapter by chapter discussions... and still understood enough

enough to write a pretty well-received article on aspects of MBOTF that even some re-readers missed... and soon having a presentation on a fantasy con on Erikson and Esslemont

and I'm not a genius either... but one thing's for certain, loved this :P


Declan Paweł wrote: "@Shawn, exactly how I feel. In addition, I don't see how writing 10 books is some superhuman feat and automatically makes the series "epic" (in various sense of this word...).

Again, I recommend J..."


The worldbuilding in the Malazan series is so beyond anything else anyone out there is doing right now, or indeed has done since Tolkien that comparing the quality of it to Abercrombie just highlights how good Erikson's worldbuilding actually is. For the record, I do like Abercrombie but yeah, I vehemently disagree with your assesment.


Zoran Krušvar Declan wrote: "The worldbuilding in the Malazan series is so beyond anything else anyone out there is doing right now, or indeed has done since Tolkien that comparing the quality of it to Abercrombie just highlights how good Erikson's worldbuilding actually is. For the record, I do like Abercrombie but yeah, I vehemently disagree with your assesment.
"


I have to disagree here, and rise to defend Abercrombie :-))

I think Abercrombie is much better writer than Erikson. The reason for this might be the fact that Erikson is investing so much effort in worldbuilding, that he is neglecting all other aspects of writing. Writing is not only about the worlds, it is also about the sentences and the characters and the stories. And in these areas Erikson is nowhere as good as Abercrombie.


message 47: by Goran (last edited Aug 20, 2013 06:58AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Goran Zoran wrote: "I think Abercrombie is much better writer than Erikson. The reason for this might be the fact that Erikson is investing so much effort in worldbuilding, that he is neglecting all other aspects of writing. Writing is not only about the worlds, it is also about the sentences and the characters and the stories. And in these areas Erikson is nowhere as good as Abercrombie."

Well said! Despite the intricate and abundant lore, almost all of Erikson's characters left me impassive while their dialogues and excessive monologues made me cringe as often as not. I guess it comes down to personal preference - If I can't have both, I'd always take well developed characters over well developed world.


Chris Zaayenga I won't argue against Joe, he's my favorite author right now. But Erikson is something special. The Malazan universe is bordering upon genius. The scope of this book is so massive and well written. SE is amazing, there is no other author doing what he is doing or did..and may never be. Zoran is right about that. Joe is great at getting you involved and keeping your interest peaked, and for me has some really good characters. I won't compare the two as their styles are so different. It is very much "to each their own". But I don't think you can say one is better than the other.

In regards to GotM. The sad part about this book is that if he would have started out this massive undertaking with a more simple book I think we would be seeing Malazan like we do ASOIAF(Game of Thrones). I think people would fall in love. But the main people who read Malazan are ones who know what they are getting into, and are ready for it. No offense to anyone....But light readers who need things spelled out for them, who tend to gravitate towards YA books, or romance/CSI type stuff probably will be turned off after book one. It's a shame really, but SE kept to his theme throughout, doesn't pander to the masses. And he is well respected in most strong literary groups because of it. As I said, it's borderline genius what he has done.

Lastly, because of the sentence above. Please read at least the first 2 book of this series. If you liked any part of Gardens of the Moon, read book2 with an open mind. If you don't like it after book2, then nobody will fault you for stopping. But stopping after book1 is doing yourself a massive disservice.


message 49: by C.E. (last edited Aug 20, 2013 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.E. Crowder >Okay, let me see if I got the end straight: So Lorn goes through all this effort to raise this evil magic being to destroy Darujhistan

Lorn raised the Tyrant in order to take down Anomander Rake a notch, hoping to force the two into confrontation.

>and while it walks to the city it gets attacked by some dragons and a wizard so instead it possesses someone in the city who just happens to be one of the guests at the party and the uncle of one of the main characters (with no explanation of why it possesses this person specifically)

Anomander sent the dragons as his first response. Quick Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time but he recognized the danger and reacted. The man who was possessed had been poking his nose into some dangerous stuff just prior and drew attention accordingly.

> and then it gets blown up by one of the Bridgburner's bombs. Only its spirit survives to get destroyed by some other spirit-being (that can turn into a house) and is introduced for the first time AT THAT VERY SAME MOMENT!

The Azath are a major feature of the series and gradually explained later, but I'd agree some foreshadowing would have been wise instead of this one suddenly appearing like a deus ex machina.

>Then, right after the big evil spirit the book has been building up to over the past couple hundred pages is destroyed, Lorn just happens to have another big evil spirit that's just as powerful in a little bottle she's carrying around so she lets that one out instead so it can have a big fight with Rake.

The Imperial demon is sort of standard equipment for a woman in her role. She knew it didn't have much chance, but tried it for lack of the first plan's success. Probably she didn't know what state Anomander was in and hoped he was already weakened, perhaps enough for the demon to succeed.

> Is my comprehension of this clear? My understanding is that this is the worst book of the series, so do the other ones make any more sense or should I give up on the series?

No one's comprehension of this series is clear after the first book, else you're fooling yourself. There's a lot of complex, not well explained elements that will only gradually be developed afterwards. This is Erikson's style, and it's understandably off-putting to a lot of readers. It's possible to follow what's going on, it's just difficult to understand where all the players and elements are coming from until you're about halfway through the series.

This first volume was written several years before the rest of the series and it does have some inconsistencies in it that don't jive with what follows. The thing about magic being impeded by a T'lan Imass never occurs again, for example. But the events and characters are never dismissed, forgotten or ignored by what comes after, so it was nothing I couldn't forgive.


message 50: by David Sven (last edited Aug 20, 2013 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Sven C.e. wrote: "it possesses someone in the city who just happens to be one of the guests at the party and the uncle of one of the main characters (with no explanation of why it possesses this person specifically)"

The character Mammot was possessed long before the party. Earlier he soul travels to the tomb of the tyrant to check things out and instead ends up under the Jaghut's influence and goes into a coma. It's not implicity stated but it is hinted at a number of times right through the book - you just have to be paying attention.


Only its spirit survives to get destroyed by some other spirit-being (that can turn into a house) and is introduced for the first time AT THAT VERY SAME MOMENT!

The reason the Jaghut is at the party is because it has been lured by the finnest that Lorn took from the tomb. The Jaghut was too powerful for any ritual to bind him indefinitely - so when he was initially bound in the tomb they separated him from most of his power and syphoned it into an object ie the finnest. It is this object that the Jaghut is after - but in the end it becomes the seed for an Azath house. The "spirit" that became an Azath house was a manifestation of the Jaghut's power.


Lorn just happens to have another big evil spirit that's just as powerful in a little bottle she's carrying around so she lets that one out instead so it can have a big fight with Rake.

The plan was to have Rake and the Tyrant fight and then have the demon lord Lorn later released to finish off the weakened survivor. It wasn't a plan B.


Did I get all of that on my first read - NO!

But the reread was an immensely satisfying and superior reading experience.


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